Did you know that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which spans a whopping 617,763 square miles, consists of a mind-boggling 1.8 TRILLION (yes, with a "t") pieces of plastic rubbish? This overwhelming mass of trash has been amassed over the years by ocean currents, caused by human over-use of single-use plastic.
From plastic water bottles to those little sandwich baggies to various other drink containers to disposable packaging of all kinds, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing by the day and actively destroying our marine ecosystem. All thanks to the fact that we just can't say no to single-use plastic, once and for all.
We all know by now about how toxic plastic is for all sorts of marine life. Like how plastic never fully biodegrades, but instead is broken down into tiny microbeads that are then ingested by fish and cetaceans sea turtles and all sorts of ocean creatures whose insides are damaged by this garbage.
But it's not only the marine life that's in danger-- what about the humans who EAT the fish who have ingested the microbeads? All those little pieces of plastic that we don't think about when we are buying single-use water bottles on a daily basis are ending up in our own bodies! Pretty horrific to think about.
And of course the plastic that doesn't fully break down into the microbeads is toxic, too. Let's not forget about the whole plastic bags and plastic rings that hold beverage containers that destroy marine life, as well.
Even though the plastic shouldn't be there in the FIRST PLACE, reading about the machine that's setting sail to clean this rubbish up gives us a feeling of hope and joy. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between California and Hawaii, has been a huge source of frustration and anguish for environmentalists and ocean-lovers worldwide.
So it's thrilling for us to hear that a dent can be made in this devastating mess. A Dutch non-profit has created this Ocean Cleanup project (we've blogged about it before) and it's due to set sail within the next few weeks from the San Francisco Bay.
The system that's going to attempt to clean up this mass of trash is essentially a combination of nets (or "screens") that are held together by giant plastic (ironic, isn't it?) tubes that are meant to literally suck the waste out of the ocean. Fish and other marine life should not be affected by the system as they'll be able to pass without disruption underneath the nets and tubes. The debris will then be transferred to large ships which will take the trash to recycling centers.
We at Gallery Drinkware will never cease to spread our message of lessening or eliminating use of plastic water bottles in the home. Even if you occasionally need to buy one on the go, which we understand, there's never a need to use them in the home! Getting single-use plastic out of the home is the first and incredibly powerful defense against getting plastic out of our oceans.
As we all hopefully begin to make the changes we need to make, such as choosing glass over plastic whenever possible, we are hopefully that projects like Ocean Cleanup are doing their invaluable work towards helping our marine ecosystems. Bravo to the folks taking on this incredible endeavor.